A quiet final day in South Africa produced a scratch by a friendly cheetah - this beautiful animal was gently lazing in the morning sun in the protected enclosure where she had reared her 3 young cubs. She rolled over planting a paw on my delicate hide and up welled a tiny drop of blood. I thought nothing of it, but my GP two days later did not see it the same way. Aarghh.... he said, eyes wide with horror. 'You could have rabies!!! - you need treatment'. Now I am not completely illiterate when it comes to things medical, especially when it relates to my own skin. However, I was as confident as I could be that said feline had not been out of her enclosure - which is surrounded by 14 ft electrified fences - for the previous 4 months. 'No matter' my GP said, 'a monkey may have got in'. 'But' I protested ' no monkey would go in there 'cos monkey's are intelligent - indeed they are reputed to have a greater stock picking skill than the average fund manager - and they know going into an enclosure with a cheetah is certain death. And not from rabies'.
However, he would not listen. So off to the hospital the following morning to start a course of rabies shots. In the old days they used to stick them in the stomach which in my case is a pretty unmissable target. Now they just find any unprotected part of the body and stick a needle in (5 times). I was then put on a course of live rabies jabs where the nasty viruses have had the sting taken out of their tail. However, they were very good and did not frighten me with the gruesome ways I could die if I actually contracted the disease. However, my long suffering wife wanted know what the symptoms might be: 'madness, foaming at the mouth and a terrible aversion to drinking water' I informed her. Her response was immediate: 'well if that's it you would have been dead long ago'.